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Cyber Monday – Shopping frenzy calls for Online Security Precautions

November 27, 2013 James Labonte

On your mark, get set…SHOP!

That’s quite a fitting statement for ‘Cyber Monday’, the busiest online shopping day which falls on the first Monday after Thanksgiving.

A growing number of people today prefer shopping online to avoid the crazy mob of shoppers at malls and large retail outlets on Black Friday. Last year’s sales on Cyber Monday climbed to new heights when e-commerce transactions hit an all-time high of around $1.5 billion as shoppers flocked to their favorite websites! So, while shoppers leap at any great online deal they see and merchants rake in boat loads of money, those sneaky cyber-thieves are chomping at the bit as they gear-up to launch various web attacks to catch people slipping amid the online shopping turmoil!

The Ponemon Institute, Michigan & RSA recently surveyed around 1100 IT staff professionals of retail organizations in the US and UK, and from their findings it’s quite apparent that this shopping increased activity is a huge target for cybercrime. For your reference, here are few excerpts from the report:

  • Cyber Monday rasies the daily online/mobile revenue by 55%

  • At the same time, a parallel rise is observed in the total number of cyber attacks, as much as $500,000 per hour or $8000 per minute.

  • The estimated brand damage averages to $3.4 million for one hour of downtime

  • About 64% of organizations see an evident increase in cyber crime on high traffic days such as Cyber Monday; out of them, only one third say they take special precautions to ensure high integrity of their websites.

  • A mere 23% of attacks can be detected and fixed out of the total attacks.
    Only 36% say their organizations use automated forensic tools that detect business logic a buse.

What really stands out is the fact that there is a loss of $3.4 million from a single hour of disruption and that most of the attacks go undetected despite merchants being well aware of the rise in the attacks during the holiday season.

Cyber Threats

Along with holiday shoppers, Cyber-thugs too have plenty of reasons to rejoice during the holiday shopping season! The RSA/Ponemon report clearly indicates the stark difference between the attentiveness of the cyber criminals and the lack of action to combat the attack from the other end. As per Demetrois Lazarikos, RSA IT Threat Strategist, “The stealth and savvy cybercriminals have advanced to a point where traditional security and fraud defenses on which businesses rely on are at best insufficient and at worst…obsolete.” The scenario today consists of varied threats, which can be listed as follows:

  • Botnet and Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS)
  • App Store Fraud
  • Mobile Access/Account Compromise
  • Click Fraud
  • Stolen Credit Card Validation
  • eCoupon Abuse
  • Account Hijacking
  • Electronic Wallet Abuse
  • Brand Promotion Hijacking






Cyber Monday harbors many such threats, which is why shoppers surfing the web should watch out for such fraudsters, especially when using unfamiliar websites for shopping.


Let’s take a closer look at the money spent online during Cyber Monday & Mega Monday in both the United States & Europe. Also note the safety tips,mention on infographic and Stick to these safety guidelines and you could escape the possibility of being 1 in 18 people per second who fall prey to cyber criminals this holiday season. Happy shopping!

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